An asset is an object (physical or intangible) that has an identifiable value and a useful life greater than 12 months, that is or could be used by the entity responsible for it to provide a service.

Alternate Definitions

  • "A physical component of a facility which has value, enables services to be provided and has an economic life of greater than 12 months. " - International Infrastructure Management Manual
  • says that "assets means future economic benefits controlled by the entity as a result of past transactions or other past events." - AAS 27
  • "an item with an independent physical and functional identity and age, within a facility (e.g. pump, motor, Sedimentation Tank, Water Main)." - The Glossary of Terms in the Guidelines for implementing Total Management Planning
  • A physical component of a road system or network. An asset is considered worthy of separate identification if it delivers services or benefits to the community of sufficient current or future value to warrant control and management on an individual basis. Typical assets include sections of pavements, bridges, culverts, traffic signals, signs, road furniture, road reserves, etc. - Austroads Glossary of Terms


Councils look after a broad range of infrastructure (or built environment) that deliver services to end users (the community). The individual infrastructure components are referred to as assets.

Generally assets fall into asset groups or asset classes.
Asset groups can include;

As a specific example a sealed road is part of the built (transport) environment and it is made of of several asset components, namely;
The earthworks (ground under the road)
The pavement (sits on the earthworks and) provides the strength and durability of the road
The wearing surface (sits on top of the pavement).

The fair value of this built asset (the road) is based on the value of the various components (listed above).
The new accounting standard insists that assets are broken into components, where the components make up a significant contribution to the cost and the components (because of their material or servicability) deteriorate at different rates (that is where the components have different economic lives)

Assets are managed by Councils to provide services to their communities now and into the future.

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